Be Mentally Prepared When Coach Calls You To Play

Be a Key Team Player

Be A Mentally Tough Athlete

The hardest position on any team is not being the main offensive weapon or defensive specialist.

It is not easy being a second-string player when you put in all those hours of training and practice but don’t play come game time…

It can be discouraging, frustrating and confidence-breaking.

Many second-stringers give up because they do not see the immediate fruits of their labor…

They start buying into the notion that they are not as good as the starters. Their poor attitude can keep them on the bench.

You need to be mentally tough, work as hard as or harder than the starters, prove yourself in practice, be patient for your opportunity, be mentally sharp on the sidelines and ready to perform when your time comes.

Being a second-stringer requires a unique mindset that keeps you positive, focused and ready to play at a moment’s notice–and that’s harder than being a starter.

Cincinnati Bengal cornerback Darqueze Dennard knows firsthand how a positive mindset is needed when being a second-stringer.

Dennard was a 2014 first round draft pick who barely made it onto the field during football games in his rookie season due to the depth of the Bengal roster.

Dennard has found that being a reserve is a difficult and challenging transition going from a college star to the role as an NFL backup.

DENNARD: “You get discouraged, especially when you’re used to playing a lot, being ‘the man’ at your school and just coming into a position with a lot of depth and a lot of veteran guys who have played a lot of football at a very high level and being successful at this level as well.”

Dennard partially gave up due to the lack of playing time.

DENNARD: “I got frustrated last year. I gained weight. I started being lazy, wasn’t taking care of myself.”

Dennard came into training camp this year with a more positive mindset. This season, Dennard committed to: practicing hard, being in game-shape throughout the season, studying how veterans make plays during the games and preparing for when his opportunities arise.

So far, Dennard has made the most of his opportunities on the field by making key tackles and breaking up passes when he has replaced injured starters.

Remember always that you are a part of the team and you can contribute in many ways, including pushing your teammates and making them better.

Stay positive, work hard, take advantage of every opportunity you get on the field, and prepare fully for when your chance to play comes.

Tip for Maximizing your Role on the Team:

First, understand what you can control. You cannot control the decisions your coach makes but you can control your level of effort and focus. Commit to outworking your teammates.

Second, ask your coach what you need to improve to help make a greater contribution to the team. This one question will let your coach know that you are willing to do whatever work necessary to help the team which could translate into more playing time.

Circumstances change all the time in sports. You may be second string today but your opportunity might come tomorrow. You must be ready physically and, more importantly, mentally. Be mentally ready by staying focused on the moment, trusting your skills, and playing with confidence.

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1 thought on “Be Mentally Prepared When Coach Calls You To Play”

  1. Hello Patrick! Very informative and encouraging blog you have shared. I personally feel that mentally preparation is the most important thing in any game in order to play with winning attitude. Thanks for sharing this positive blog.

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